It looks like Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is strongly leaning towards running for Governor. He did everything but make the final announcement on a telephone conference call with affordable housing folks on Friday. He acknowledged people have tired of the guessing game and said he will make his final decision within days.

Is there any other way to read this statement, other than as a declaration of his intent to run?

“I don’t think the governor’s job could be as much fun as the mayor’s job,” Hickenlooper said after an audience member asked if he will run for governor. “But I do believe now it probably has greater impact.

“You know, my plan was only to give 10 or 15 years to public service. If you’re going to look at it that way, you should probably try to be as useful and have (the) maximum impact as you can.” “So it’s a balancing act of what you love and what you know (in the mayor’s role) vs. maybe having more impact in a different place,” Hickenlooper continued.

If he runs, I have mixed feelings. I think Bill Ritter has been unfairly tarred as someone who would fail to protect a woman’s right to choose. He has never been an activist on the issue, and as with his personal opposition to the death penalty, has never sought to impose his personal beliefs on Colorado citizens.

The real question for Democrats is whether Ritter or Hickenlooper has a better chance of winning the state-wide vote.